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Orbital Antares rocket makes test flight

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RGClark

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blackstar

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I'll be watching this from our office balcony tomorrow. Fingers crossed.
 
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Congrats to Orbital on their successful second launch and here's to a successful docking of the Cygnus to the ISS.

Bob Clark
 

OM

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...So, does this mean Antares is no longer a "secret" and/or "unflown" project? ;D
 

Michel Van

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OM said:
...So, does this mean Antares is no longer a "secret" and/or "unflown" project? ;D

i'm afraid , yes
 
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RGClark

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Congrats to Orbital Sciences on the successful conclusion of the Cygnus mission to the ISS.
And congrats to NASA's commercial space program for proving with both SpaceX and Orbital Sciences that the commercial space approach can develop both launchers and space capsules at a fraction of the cost thought needed.

Bob Clark
 

blackstar

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RGClark said:
Congrats to Orbital Sciences on the successful conclusion of the Cygnus mission to the ISS.
And congrats to NASA's commercial space program for proving with both SpaceX and Orbital Sciences that the commercial space approach can develop both launchers and space capsules at a fraction of the cost thought needed.

Bob Clark
They don't read this site.

Send them a letter.
 

Grey Havoc

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http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2014/01/live-orbital-sciences-launch/
 

Grey Havoc

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http://apnews.myway.com/article/20140112/DAB99DIG0.html
 

Boxman

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Not such a successful flight this evening, unfortunately.
Private Orbital Sciences Rocket Explodes During Launch, NASA Cargo Lost
by Mike Wall SPACE.com Senior Writer | October 28, 2014 06:43pm ET

A private Orbital Sciences-built cargo launch to the International Space Station ended in a fiery explosion just seconds after liftoff Tuesday night (Oct. 28). Orbital's unmanned Antares rocket exploded in a brilliant fireball shortly after launching from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia at 6:22 p.m. EDT (2222 GMT), crashing back down to the launch pad in a flaming heap. The Antares was carrying Orbital's unmanned Cygnus spacecraft, which was toting 5,000 pounds (2,268 kilograms) of food, scientific experiments and other supplies on this flight — the third cargo mission to the space station under a $1.9 billion contract the company holds with NASA. A NASA spokesman described the explosion as a "catastrophic anomaly" during a NASA TV webcast. While the assessment and investigation of the accident have just begun, NASA emergency operations officials report no injuries, Orbital Sciences representatives said. Property damage is limited to the south end of Wallops Island, they added.

*** See rest of story at hyperlinked title ***
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0pbQlM74lQ

Welp, it has been at least 40 years since an NK-33 powered rocket has blown up. . . :-\
 

merriman

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... and this one only had two of 'em.

Blue Origin, call your office.

David
 

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Just yesterday their twitter account said they were on the cusp of reaching a deal for RD-180s, of all things, to replace the NK-33s.
 

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According to http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/05/antares-aj-26-engine-fails-stennis-testing/ ,
"A previous failure of an AJ-26 occurred in June, 2011 – when the fourth Antares engine caught fire on the E-1 Test Stand. The fire was caused by a kerosene fuel leak in an engine manifold, with the root cause was subsequently determined to be stress corrosion cracking of the 40-year old metal."
The AJ-26 ( a rebadged and modified NK-33)has had multiple failures besides the above mentioned as well. Also, there is a question what mods were applied, what percentage engineeringwise was added to the existing platform and what quality inspection standards were applied ( inspection protocols were allegedly improved after Sep 28, 2011.) I see soooooooo many similaritites to 787.
 

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Watched the whole thing live on NASA TV last night, could not believe it when the Antares rocket exploded on the Launchpad, wonder what caused the rocket to fall back onto the Launchpad the way that it did.
 

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FighterJock said:
wonder what caused the rocket to fall back onto the Launchpad the way that it did.
Lack of thrust. ;)
 

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I love Frank Culbertson's description of the event: “The ascent stopped. There was some disassembly of the first stage, it looked like, and then it fell to earth.”

That's one way of describing it.
 

merriman

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If I remember right it was one of these motors that threw turbo-machinery at the adjacent motors, bringing down one of the N-1's. Did any of the N-1's launched get as far as staging?

Will the Antaris vehicle fit the new Blue-Origin engine?

Looks like Orbital Sciences has painted themselves into a corner buying old, limited in number, N-1 rocket motors.

Would SpaceX sell them Merlin's?

David
 

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the wallops site is in my home state of virginia ;D but this was not good.
 

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merriman said:
If I remember right it was one of these motors that threw turbo-machinery at the adjacent motors, bringing down one of the N-1's. Did any of the N-1's launched get as far as staging?
None of the N-1s got to first stage burnout (although the fourth launch got within a few seconds). The N-1 used the NK-15, a precursor to the NK-33. Similar design, but the NK-15 was not reusable (so it couldn't be tested before launch).

The only N-1 failure that directly resulted from the engines was the second launch, when an engine ingested debris from a tank (welding slag or a bolt).
 

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merriman said:
If I remember right it was one of these motors that threw turbo-machinery at the adjacent motors, bringing down one of the N-1's. Did any of the N-1's launched get as far as staging?

Will the Antaris vehicle fit the new Blue-Origin engine?

Looks like Orbital Sciences has painted themselves into a corner buying old, limited in number, N-1 rocket motors.
The NK33s were always intended as an interim fit. Orbital has been indicating that they've already done a deal to install RD-180s instead of the NK-33s (ironic since ULA is planning to go the other direction, replacing RD-180s with a larger number of BE-4s).

BE-4 doesn't seem to be quite the right size for Antares -- you'd need like 1.3 of them to replace two NK-33s, at least in terms of thrust.
 

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TomS said:
I love Frank Culbertson's description of the event: “The ascent stopped. There was some disassembly of the first stage, it looked like, and then it fell to earth.”

That's one way of describing it.
Why do I think that it will become a meme?
 

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TomS said:

I love Frank Culbertson's description of the event: “The ascent stopped. There was some disassembly of the first stage, it looked like, and then it fell to earth.”

That's one way of describing it.

It's quite strange, the way I see the "official footage" (the press footage is too indistinct) is that there is a very odd event just when the rocket is a few feet off the pad. Its ascent seems to slow momentarily and it seems to do a slight "sidestep". Then it seems to regain acceleration and steadies and rises - THEN there is the problem of the flare-ing flame exhaust and eventual explosion.


I believe that that initial "sidestep" is important as it indicates EITHER a problem in the gymbolling of the engines or a problem with the gyros/control system (or a possibility that there was a temporary thrust problem which returned a few seconds later).


Look at about 3:00 to 3:03 on this video (sorry it has an advert at the beginning) ;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCWunnJXdm0
 

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http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0001681282

http://www.13newsnow.com/story/news/local/virginia/2014/10/29/teams-complete-assessment-of-wallops-island-facility/18157587/
 

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Surprising how little damage there is.

Here's the before image:

http://www.orbital.com/Multimedia/Images/Facilities/images/low-res/Wallops_low.jpg

So, at first glance, it seems they lost a couple of lightning rods and the launch tower itself, probably. Nothing else seems obviously damaged.

(There is a taller building near the HAB -- it looks like it's being removed? the skin is gone and only the frame remains right now.)
 

Michel Van

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in the News are contradiction Information

On Internet the most is that NK-33 aka Aerojet AJ-26
A article in Spacedaily claims it this rocket used a old NK-33 from 1970s
German newspaper claims that the AJ-26 was new and modified version, build by Aerojet.

Also the story that the rocket was destroy by safetyrange officer at Wallops.

now to that sideway "sidestep" the Antares made during launch
you see that also on other Launches of Antares, is just a safety feature, the rocket get's distance from Launch pad.
wen it's fails, it's crash in front of Launch Pad and not on it.

What have save most of Pad installation after "the biggest launch disaster since ten years"
 

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Michel Van said:
in the News are contradiction Information

On Internet the most is that NK-33 aka Aerojet AJ-26
A article in Spacedaily claims it this rocket used a old NK-33 from 1970s
German newspaper claims that the AJ-26 was new and modified version, build by Aerojet.
This isn't contradictory. AJ-26 is the designation for an NK-33 refurbished by Aerojet Rocketdyne. They've had some parts replaced, and some repairs done (some cracks welded, for example) but they're basically 40-year-old formerly mothballed NK-33s with a new name.
 

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TomS said:
Michel Van said:
in the News are contradiction Information

On Internet the most is that NK-33 aka Aerojet AJ-26
A article in Spacedaily claims it this rocket used a old NK-33 from 1970s
German newspaper claims that the AJ-26 was new and modified version, build by Aerojet.
This isn't contradictory. AJ-26 is the designation for an NK-33 refurbished by Aerojet Rocketdyne. They've had some parts replaced, and some repairs done (some cracks welded, for example) but they're basically 40-year-old formerly mothballed NK-33s with a new name.
Why do we still rely on old Soviet/Russian technology for our rockets? When are the likes of Pratt and Whitney, General Electric and Aerojet Rocketdyne going to start designing brand new rocket engines before another rocket explodes.
 

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FighterJock said:
TomS said:
Michel Van said:
in the News are contradiction Information

On Internet the most is that NK-33 aka Aerojet AJ-26
A article in Spacedaily claims it this rocket used a old NK-33 from 1970s
German newspaper claims that the AJ-26 was new and modified version, build by Aerojet.
This isn't contradictory. AJ-26 is the designation for an NK-33 refurbished by Aerojet Rocketdyne. They've had some parts replaced, and some repairs done (some cracks welded, for example) but they're basically 40-year-old formerly mothballed NK-33s with a new name.
Why do we still rely on old Soviet/Russian technology for our rockets? When are the likes of Pratt and Whitney, General Electric and Aerojet Rocketdyne going to start designing brand new rocket engines before another rocket explodes.
Because Washington is tight and stupid.
 

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FighterJock said:
TomS said:
This isn't contradictory. AJ-26 is the designation for an NK-33 refurbished by Aerojet Rocketdyne. They've had some parts replaced, and some repairs done (some cracks welded, for example) but they're basically 40-year-old formerly mothballed NK-33s with a new name.
Why do we still rely on old Soviet/Russian technology for our rockets? When are the likes of Pratt and Whitney, General Electric and Aerojet Rocketdyne going to start designing brand new rocket engines before another rocket explodes.
The RD-180 was adopted mainly for political reasons, back when US-Russian space cooperation was a major policy objective. In theory, the joint agrement allows Pratt & Whitney to make the RD-180 in the US as well, but it hasn't been done (probably because Russian manufacturing is cheaper).

The NK-33 was adopted mainly because it was cheap, available, and an incredible performer (at least on paper).

There are a lot of designs being developed to replace these two. Blue Origin has a new rocket design (BE-4), as does Space X (Merlin 1D) and Aerojet Rocketdyne (the AR-1). But new motors aren't cheap to design and neither the US governement nor private launch customers have been very interested in funding them until recently.
 

FighterJock

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TomS said:
FighterJock said:
TomS said:
This isn't contradictory. AJ-26 is the designation for an NK-33 refurbished by Aerojet Rocketdyne. They've had some parts replaced, and some repairs done (some cracks welded, for example) but they're basically 40-year-old formerly mothballed NK-33s with a new name.
Why do we still rely on old Soviet/Russian technology for our rockets? When are the likes of Pratt and Whitney, General Electric and Aerojet Rocketdyne going to start designing brand new rocket engines before another rocket explodes.
The RD-180 was adopted mainly for political reasons, back when US-Russian space cooperation was a major policy objective. In theory, the joint agrement allows Pratt & Whitney to make the RD-180 in the US as well, but it hasn't been done (probably because Russian manufacturing is cheaper).

The NK-33 was adopted mainly because it was cheap, available, and an incredible performer (at least on paper).

There are a lot of designs being developed to replace these two. Blue Origin has a new rocket design (BE-4), as does Space X (Merlin 1D) and Aerojet Rocketdyne (the AR-1). But new motors aren't cheap to design and neither the US governement nor private launch customers have been very interested in funding them until recently.
First time I have heard about the new rocket engine designs, is there any more data about them available? Links to websites would be helpful.
 

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Agreed, there is adequate rocket motor development in the States today -- finally!

And soon (within five-years maybe) we won't need warehouses full of throw-away motors; only enough of them in the pipeline to maintain a fleet of reusable vehicles.

New manufacturing techniques, and detailed motor histories (advanced materials, lower part count, tighter tolerances; coupled with pre-flight, flight, and post-flight data collection and analysis) will give us reliable, almost safe space access that was promised (but not delivered) by the government Shuttle program.

Government (today) is risk adverse. Businessmen assess and accept risk if that risk is in the pursuit of growth-profit. How much courage have you observed from any high ranking public official of late? The conquest of space will not be lead by a Obama. No. It will be led by a Musk.

Now, at this point, and the sooner the better, we must get the government out of the way, and let the private sector -- with minimal regulation -- do what it does best: deliver the goods cheaply, reliably, and to the specific needs of the customer.

I acknowledge that NASA was indeed the vital enabler in this game, but no more. Today that organization is a bloated pork barrel Congressional play-toy suitable only for finding cubical's in which to house so-so Engineer's and bean-counters; an outfit tasked with proving Global Climate Change, reaching out to Moslem's, and turning former research facilities into National shrines dedicated to, 'the good old days'.

NASA is today an Engineer's Public Housing authority; able to do no better than revisit the Apollo days by winding the tape backwards and calling the results, Orion. Not with my money, thank you very much!

The recent Antares accident highlights how hard it is to get stuff into LEO. The incident reminds us, that if we are to reclaim our status as a space fairing nation, reliant on no other country, then it's time to foster the private sector, to get out of their way, and ... 'buy American'!

David
 

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merriman said:
New manufacturing techniques, and detailed motor histories (advanced materials, lower part count, tighter tolerances; coupled with pre-flight, flight, and post-flight data collection and analysis) will give us reliable, almost safe space access that was promised (but not delivered) by the government Shuttle program.
It's sad that the H-1 engine developed for the Saturn I (by taking the Jupiter/Thor main engine and simplifying it, dropping the parts count by about 90%) turned out to be remarkably reusable... without even really *trying* to make it reusable.

This was due, at least in part, to the *lack* of computer design aids. Reusability is in part a function of the ruggedness of the components, and ruggedness is the inverse of minimum mass. Since they weren't able to analyze the H-1 design down to the micron level, they just said "well, err ont he side of making it a tad thicker." Shazam, a reusable engine.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Since they weren't able to analyze the H-1 design down to the micron level, they just said "well, err ont he side of making it a tad thicker." Shazam, a reusable engine.
See also:
DC-3
Bell 206
P-80/T-33
Boeing 727
etc.
 

sferrin

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Bill Walker said:
Orionblamblam said:
Since they weren't able to analyze the H-1 design down to the micron level, they just said "well, err ont he side of making it a tad thicker." Shazam, a reusable engine.
See also:
DC-3
Bell 206
P-80/T-33
Boeing 727
etc.
B-52, Minuteman, KC-135. . .
 

marauder2048

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With Orbital acquiring ATK, I was assuming that the future propulsion stack for Antares would be SRM based. Are there technical reasons
why liquid propellant is preferred for the loads/orbits that Antares targets?
 

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FighterJock said:
Why do we still rely on old Soviet/Russian technology for our rockets? When are the likes of Pratt and Whitney, General Electric and Aerojet Rocketdyne going to start designing brand new rocket engines before another rocket explodes.
Developing a brand new rocket engine is risky. Many new engines have suffered explosions before the bugs were worked out. It's also expensive. Orbital has been using old stockpiles to reduce cost and get access to advanced technology. Closed-cycle engines like the NK-33 are notoriously difficult to develop, requiring deep research into metallurgy.
 

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TomS said:
The RD-180 was adopted mainly for political reasons, back when US-Russian space cooperation was a major policy objective. In theory, the joint agrement allows Pratt & Whitney to make the RD-180 in the US as well, but it hasn't been done (probably because Russian manufacturing is cheaper).

The NK-33 was adopted mainly because it was cheap, available, and an incredible performer (at least on paper).

wrong. RD-180 was adopted for the same reasons as the NK-33. The US gov't had no role in the choice of RD-180. LM chose it for the Atlas III and then used it on Atlas V
 
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